Archive for August 10th, 2006

Has anyone seen the new travel restrictions? So far, it looks like it affects only passengers headed for the UK. Still…one word: brutal! Here’s an excerpt from a company email making the rounds concerning American Airlines flights:

Effective immediately all carry-on baggage must be processed as checked baggage for all flights departing from or connecting through airports in the United Kingdom (U.K.).Nothing may be carried in passengers’ pockets. Passengers may only take the following items through the airport security checkpoint, in a single transparent plastic bag:

• pocket size wallets and pocket size purses plus contents (money, credit cards, identity cards, etc. but not handbags or purses)
• travel documents essential for the journey (passports and travel tickets)
• prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight (a diabetic kit for example), except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.
• eye glasses and sunglasses, without cases
• contact lens cases, without bottles of solution
• for those traveling with an infant: baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (wipes, creams, disposal bags)
• female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed
• tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
• keys (but no electrical key fobs)

If an item does not appear in the list above it is NOT allowed. Additionally, no liquids, gels or other items of similar consistency are permitted to enter the sterile areas except for a) baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; b) prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s travel documents; c) insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines. This also includes liquids and gel products purchased as duty free.

Get that? No books, no newspapers, no laptops. No coffee, no water. No board games, no playing cards. In effect, nothing to help passengers pass the time away during their cross-Atlantic flight. Ugh. That ain’t a short flight, either.

I’ve always been a little wary of the airport security measures. They don’t seem very effective, implemented more as a way to make passengers feel safer without actually giving them any real protection. (Kind of like putting cup-holders in SUVs.) I mean, what’s to stop someone from slipping a colostomy bag full of liquid explosive down the front of his pants? Hot water bottle slipped under a shirt? These restrictions have absolutely no value without doing a body cavity search on every passenger…

So. Now we have excessive and ineffective security measures applied to passengers that in effect punishes them without keeping them safer.

Whee.

Links…

The Montana Democratic party votes down a party platform plank to overturn Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage. You know where I stand on this issue. Still…I agree with the Democratic leadership on this one. If we want to overturn the ban, it should be a grassroots movement that convinces everyday Montanans of the issue with the force and justness of the argument. It shouldn’t come top-down from the Democratic party.

Mike speaks out on Lieberman’s independent bid: “I now believe it’s appropriate to say that I think it’s time for Lieberman to go quietly into the night.”

Sixty percent of the US public are extremists, according to the White House.

And, of course, Jon Stewart on the election.

Kevin Drum notes that the other dumped incumbent, by an actual extremist, got little media play. Hm…are GOP extremists so common, they’re not worthy of coverage?

At least one GOP candidate is distancing himself from his party and President.

Dept of the obvious: “Experts: Voters, not blogs, unseated Lieberman.

Right-wing blog, Little Green Footballs, is under investigation by the FBI for anti-Muslim threats. I wonder if the threats were specific, or whether general threats of genocide warrant fed inquiry…

Bush wastes no time playing politics with the latest terrorist threat…

…and denounces Washington’s “culture of corruption.” Up next, he’ll denounce himself? Anything to bump up those approval ratings.

Speaking of the terrorist plot, it’s true that most big terror busts have been “racked up by cops, not by soldiers.” Here’s a little excerpt I wrote from my rant on the flick, “United Flight 93”:

The thing is, the best way to get rid of terrorism — or at least reduce its threat to a manageable level — is to arrest actual terrorists and try them, pressure nations that harbor and support terrorists through diplomacy and financial incentives, and create solutions to the source of terror. It’s not simple or cheap, but a better, cheaper alternative to waging war which seems to only create animosity towards the United States.

Josh Marshall: “…President Bush’s War on Terror…is at best irrelevant to combating this sort of danger.”

Shane M had a fantastic post today on whether the Democratic leadership will support Lamont. In it, he prints from an email received by DNC chair and former presidential candidate, Howard Dean, who wholeheartedly supports Lamont:

This race wasn’t about ideology. Ned Lamont succeeded because of participation politics — he talked plainly and honestly with the people of Connecticut, and his campaign engaged in the kind of neighbor-to-neighbor organizing that has reinvigorated our party across the country.

Over a quarter-million people voted in the Democratic primary in Connecticut yesterday. Among those taking part in that exceptionally high voter turnout were tens of thousands of people who are new to our party. Voters included Republicans and Independents joining the Democratic Party and others registering for the first time and choosing to be Democrats.

First, Dean’s support for Lamont should come as little surprise. A PAC – “Democracy for America” – run by brother Jim Dean was an ardent backer of Lamont’s campaign. Democracy for America’s mission is to encourage grassroots organization across the states to counter the growth of the radical right-wing movement.

Sound familiar? It should. It mirrors Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy.

Most of us in the purplish states – like Montana, Colorado, Nevada – are thrilled by Dean’s strategy. The DNC is pouring money for grassroots organization here, and there’s a sense of a growing interest and excitement about being a Western Democrat. We can see the effect of this policy in, for example, Tester’s campaign, or Jack Carter’s, or Gary Trauner’s.

There’s no surprise that Dean is interested in grassroots politics. That’s how he made his name and created a very successful bid for the presidency. (Which landed him his current position.) Only not everybody agrees with it.

More specifically, folks in the DLC and the DSCC are not very happy with the policy. Chuck Schumer, DSCC chair, spoke out against the strategy, saying the DNC should save its money for “battleground” states – i.e., states where elections will be close. That is, the usual border states: Tennessee, Iowa, Ohio, etc.

You might recognize Chuck Schumer’s name. He was the fella that said he’d support a Lieberman independent bid way back in mid-June. He’s now backtracked, and has already endorsed Ned Lamont, but the damage was done.

So Dean’s whole-hearted support for Lamont doesn’t indicate universal Dem support for Ned. It indicates the grassroots-based wing does, which is no surprise.

The question then isn’t whether Dean and his allies – like most of us, presumably, else we wouldn’t be blogging – will support Lamont, it’s whether Schumer et al. will not only endorse Lamont, but support him with big, fat checks, appearances, and statements. And will the Democratic leadership strip Lieberman of his committee seats in the Senate?

If Lieberman is completely isolated from the Democratic party, he might – just might — realize what he’s done. Sure, he has every right to run as an independent. But should he still sup from the Democratic buffet while doing so?

So watch the other Democrats closely to see what will happen. Will Harry Reid strip Lieberman of committee seats? How much money is the DSCC giving Lamont?




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